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ATC Slot Nazis at PMI

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ATC Slot Nazis at PMI

Old 7th May 2001, 22:45
  #21 (permalink)  
Covenant
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Spoonbill

What rattled your cage? I don't see any problem with Lazlo's use of the word "Nazi". Are you implying that that the use of the word is in some way racist? That's the only conclusion I can make based on the vehemence of your reply, and your references to BNF, etc.

As far as I can see, Lazlo used the word in a perfectly acceptable way - i.e. to imply, in a humourous way, a degree of authoritarianism on the part of the ATC. It's known as a metaphor - we all use them, even you. Maybe Lazlo should have been offended by your suggestion that he had an "axe to grind" with the Spanish. Are you suggesting that he doesn't keep his axes (if he has any) in proper working order? Or that his local axe-grinder isn't up to the job?

Even if Lazlo did mean that he literally thought the Spanish ATC was a Nazi, I still don't understand your over-the-top reaction.

Personally I think you owne Lazlo an apology for biting his head off like that, but that's just MHO.
 
Old 7th May 2001, 23:30
  #22 (permalink)  
TE RANGI
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Lazlo:

Hot topic indeed. I couldn't agree more with you. PMI ATC has its own unique ways when it comes to slot handling. I know the problem full well as I am based at PMI.

IMHO Spanish ATC level of professionalism is appalling. These guys have got such enviable labour conditions -through the abuse of their controlling power, by the way- that they've managed to attract all the opportunists off the streets instead of people with a feel for their trade. PMI TWR (incl. Clearance Del) is just the case front and center.

What's really different about PMI TWR is that they feel that the +10 min window is "theirs", and that it's just their discretion to let you go. And of course they won't, even if you're the only one taxying around. Unlike most airports in Europe where controllers go to some length to help you, they take an ultraconservative approach of the slot system because their flow people are terrified of what Brussels might tell them if they let someone slip through. And also because they're just "funcionarios" (bureaucrats) and couldn't care less about the proper functioning of the system, flow, schedules, efficiency, safety or anything to do with airplanes. Unprofessionalism, bureaucracy, carelesness and weird interpretations of the regs. What a cocktail!

One area where you are mistaken though, is that the locals get some kind of favouritism from this climate (other than turboprops landing on 24R to cut down taxy time, which I agree is a ridiculous practice). I can assure you that this is not the case. We endure the same rigours that you do albeit more often. Let me illustrate with a case in point:

A couple of years ago they denied me permission to start on the grounds that I would not make it to the runway within the +10 min window. After some arguing, I called my company and luckyly got a new CTOT right away. Called again clearance del., waited for them to verify it, got the start approved, started, taxyied, and guess what: I was at the rwy in time to honour the first slot. I sent a complaint to CFMU, complete with an airport diagram, distances, taxy speeds, etc. Never heard of it again!

By the way, my company issues an intam advising that at PMI, MAD, FRA, LHR, LGW, CDG, etc you have to be fully ready 20 min prior your CTOT or get another one. Sadly, they've got their way.

ATCOs:

I am astonished at your utterly theoretical perception of this business and how this thread has stirred a deeply ingrained corporate spirit. The way the current slot system is handled places the brunt of the load on flight crews who are the ones that ultimately face all the pressure, and believe me it's bordering on a flight safety threat.
Let's not lose the big picture guys. As the old saying goes, "Am I up here because you're down there, or is it the other way around?"

Pardon the long post.

 
Old 7th May 2001, 23:30
  #23 (permalink)  
mindstorm
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I don't know about anyone elses companies but we are told that we have to call ready at PMI 15 minutes before the slot. Difficult at times I know but thats the message for ATC there.
 
Old 7th May 2001, 23:43
  #24 (permalink)  
FO Nigetrussoxide
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TE RANGI, you are correct.
(In fact most American's who experience our ridiculous "slot " system in Europe state that it is definitely a safety threat.)
 
Old 8th May 2001, 00:00
  #25 (permalink)  
Propellerhead
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I'm down in Palma in a few days - I'll have to make sure I call for start in plenty of time. Are there any stands that ATC can't see (eg C14 at LHR) - so I can use my old "Yeah, we're fully ready" with all the baggage trucks hanging off!!

LHR were great this morning, called for start 2 mins. before slot, got away from block 102 09R at slot + 10 exactly - but it was quiet at the hold luckily!

Spoonbill, err, 1720 + 10 = 1730. I find your lack of maths understanding astonishing - tee hee. Do you work for 'Essex Radar' then? What do you call an Essex girl who.... no, better not!



[This message has been edited by Propellerhead (edited 07 May 2001).]
 
Old 8th May 2001, 00:22
  #26 (permalink)  
Gonzo
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It is fascinating the depth of feeling that has been aroused by this topic.

I can only speak for LHR, but nnoe of the controllers I know delay a/c for the sake of it. If we think you can get airborne, we let you go. Quite often even if you start in good time 15-20 mins beforehand are are slow to call for taxi, or get stuck behind a slow taxying a/c, we'll be on the phone to Flow Control trying to get an extra 5 or 10 minutes on the slot.

TE RANGI
If you ever operate from LHR, and are less than 20 mins before the slot, I'd recommend just calling Delivery up anyway, it may be quiet at the hold and we'll let you go even 5 mins before the slot! Give it a go!

I am curious about what you say at the end of your post. 'The way the slot system is handled...' How do you think it could be improved? With regard to the 'flight safety threat', do you mean the pressure put on the crews to be ready by a certain time?

You say 'Let's not lose the big picture'.
IMHO, one piece of that big picture is the existence of slot times to prevent fellow controllers getting totally overloaded and to keep flying as safe as possible.

Propellerhead....
Okay, the ATC police are on to you. Next time C14 calls for start, I'll phone up Apron and ask them to direct one of their CCTV cameras towards it, then we'll see if you ARE ready!!!!!
Block 102 from 09R??? Pah! I'd have given you 81!!!!

Gonzo.

[This message has been edited by Gonzo (edited 07 May 2001).]
 
Old 8th May 2001, 01:48
  #27 (permalink)  
WideBodiedEng
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For what it's worth - last week in DUB at about 06:15 a Shamrock (602 or 520) called for start/push to be told "you've missed your slot" "But it's for 06:13" wailed the lad. Then another (the Skipper??) said "Don't we have 10 mins on that time?" ATC replied "We have 4 a/c at the hold and you won't push, start and be at 28 in 8 mins and it's 2 mins between a/c" So it's not just PMI. Looks like ATC are starting to bite.
As someone else said it doesn't help if you've got half the airport around the a/c when you call for start/push. DHL often try that at DUB and usually get away with it.
 
Old 8th May 2001, 02:00
  #28 (permalink)  
Spoonbill
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Lazlo - OK perhaps I went over the top, having come home from a busy day which consisted of all the usual stuff, plus pilots wanting me to play slot busters on their behalf, I forgot to consume the usual half bottle of gin before coming on the site.
No I dont work in Spain, I'm at a regional airport in the UK which handles bucket loads of IT flights, and you're right, I've flown into PMI as acustomer but dont have a working knowledge of their procedures.
However, we are constantly put under pressure by pilots to let a couple of minutes slip by here and there, and allow them to sneak out early/late, and guess what - the vast majority of pilots who make these "requests" are British! I can't remeber the last time a Spanish operator quibbled about a slot time. In fact the last time I let a Spaniard go early, the captain of the aircraft behind, (a British operator whose name is mentioned in the last night of the proms closing singing), filed an MOR because he was 2 minutes late on his slot as a result! Guess who got the flack from SRG?
I will always try and be flexible, but you tend to lose sympathy quickly when all you get is grief for refusing clearance when it's patently obvious that the slot time tolerances are not going to be met.
Propellerhead - 'scuse me for being thick, but I always thought that 1720 + 10 = 1730, and that's what I put on my original rant, or am I missing something?
Guess I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing marker pens
 
Old 8th May 2001, 02:33
  #29 (permalink)  
fmgc
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Point 1.

Please don't confuse my inane ramblings, poor spelling and grammar with the relatively new and inexperienced fmgs. It would be horrific to think that he could get some of **** for the cr@p that I post.

Point 2.

RE: PMI & slots, I have had the same problems there and at ALC on a busy Sat afternoon.

Point 3.

Apart from problem places like ZTH where you can only fit 2 and a half 'planes on the apron I would love to see a control experiment in place. i.e. For one busy week, scrap slots completely and let everybody go when they are ready.

Point 4.

Spoonbill,

Very disappointed to see your follow up post there as I was all ready to lay into you. If you are a UK ATC'er, please do not even try to compare your abilities and procedures to the Spanish. I know that you will have been trained well, know the procedures and meet an unreasonably high standard, this I can not say of your Iberian counterparts.

[This message has been edited by fmgc (edited 07 May 2001).]
 
Old 8th May 2001, 02:41
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Last year, our company made things easy for us and issued a flight crew notice clearly stating that in the Balearics you need to call for taxi 20 minutes before slot. If not ready, you need to call ops for new slot. Simple. So we read any slot time as that time minus 20 minutes.

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Old 8th May 2001, 03:28
  #31 (permalink)  
160to4DME
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<< Point 3.

Apart from problem places like ZTH where you can only fit 2 and a half 'planes on the apron I would love to see a control experiment in place. i.e. For one busy week, scrap slots completely and let everybody go when they are ready. >>

Great idea...will you be providing the staff to split en-route sectors which might overload as a result of everyone wanting to arrive back in the UK between 1800 and 2000? Will you object to enroute holding if a sector is too busy to accept you ?? How many fuel PANs will your company tolerate due to extended holding at destination ??

Did a fam. flight with AA a couple of years ago, MD11 to ORD then onwards to SFO on a 767.

767 skipper joked about our slot system, saying it never happened in the US.

Filed for FL 390, we departed bang on time.

"See, no need for slots!" he smuggly said.

A huge portion of humble pie was served up soon after.......we went all the way capped at FL270 AND speed restricted.

Now, waddaya want ?? An occassional slot delay or low and slow all the way back from Bodrum on a Friday night ??
 
Old 8th May 2001, 03:43
  #32 (permalink)  
Alien Shores
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In my european experience, the French are arrogant, and cold, but actually very competent. The Italians are friendly, willing to oblige, but only marginally competent.

The Spanish however, manage to synthesise both those traits; arrogance and incompetence in one fell swoop. I've now started filing ASR's every time I am slowed down to 220kts at 100 miles to allow 4 Iberias in first, or given a revised taxi route to place Spanair and Air Europa before me in the holding-point queue (clue... query that one, and your "place" miraculously returns.)

...and I'm a fan of Europe in all her colours! Unfortunately, not everyone out there is!

Alien
 
Old 8th May 2001, 04:31
  #33 (permalink)  
halo
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I have to agree with all the controllers on this thread. The slot times are not in place as a buggeration factor. They are there as a means for the aerodrome controllers to protect all the area/approach/other aerodrome controllers down the line. If you want to do away with slots and just go when you are ready then don't come crying to us when U get half way along the route and either a) You get turned away from a sector where the controller is going under, or b) You have a screaming airmiss with a load of other aircraft who also want to be in the same space at the same time.
We try our best to apply the -5 to +10 tolerance rigidly in order that we get the best for everybody. BUT, using the C14 at LHR example, if you aren't ready and you tell us that you are and you look like you are going to miss your slot, then we WILL get a new slot for you. All this is quite embarassing if we've taxiied you off the stand and you have engines running and are sat at the holding point, when you cop a 3 hour slot delay and aren't allowed to shut down!!

The simple matter of it is this.... We never delay anybody without good reason. If you truly believe we do then may I suggest a visit to your nearest air traffic unit so that you can see how hard we work, how little we get paid, and how much crap we have to put up with every day from people moaning about slots!!!
 
Old 8th May 2001, 12:56
  #34 (permalink)  
Angel`s Playmate
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What do we need a slot for? This happened to me at PMI last week!!

We were parked at gate 65,that`s the one on south side right in the corner. we asked 12 min.before the window opened for start-up.
Answer: "You are number 4 to push-several A/C behind you"!
By the time we got push clearance,the slot had gone more or less. Taxiied out to 24R,got line up clearance(window was closed for 8 min.already!!)..and then it happened-
Tower: "You have to leave the runway and go back to the gate-your slot has expired"

I complained,that it was not our fault that we lost the slot...and guess what happened next???!!

Tower: " Ok,cleared for take-off!"

So gentlemen,what do we need a slot 4 ?
 
Old 8th May 2001, 14:02
  #35 (permalink)  
Lazlo
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There is one thing I would like to clarify with regard to this topic. My complaint is with the Spanish ATC, in particular that at PMI. They, IMHO, play to their own rules and do not follow the professional example of the rest of Europe. I most certainly am not complaining about the standard of ATC in the UK nor slot restrictions in the UK. I have to say that I have rarely, if ever, had any problems with UK ATCO's. We are all professionals and behave as such. I know they are overworked, underpaid, etc and I appreciate that and understand. The service received from UK ATC is second to none in my opinion, and it is against this standard that Spanish ATC fails miserably. I do not make a habit of trying to depart outside of the "slot window" - all I am complaining about is the inflexibility of ATC at one airfield who will not even let you go when it is clearly obvious that you will easily depart in that "window". This is not a problem that I have experienced at UK airfields. In the UK if I am unable to make a slot, there is always a good reason as has been indicated by several ATCOs on this thread and I have no problem with that - it's just part of the job. In PMI, very frequently there is no good reason, and when you have to deal with this on a regular basis it eventually takes a toll, even just simply in increased hours at work, delays that ricochet through the schedule and time spent away from home and family. Over time it all adds up and in my opinion is unacceptable. Just thought I would clear that up!

Lazlo
 
Old 8th May 2001, 15:40
  #36 (permalink)  
Hew Jampton
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A (purely hypothetical, of course) way to improve slot problems with Spanish ATC is for an airline to employ off-duty Spanish controllers as 'slot consultants' or some similar euphemism. In return for money, these 'consultants' would apparently liaise with their on-duty colleagues to improve matters for that airline. The on-duty controllers will of course receive their wedge when they are off-duty and take their turn as 'slot consultants'. Naturally this is purely hypothetical because no airline would resort to such tactics and the impeccably high ethics in the Spanish civil service would preclude controllers from accepting what might possibly be alleged to be 'brown envelopes'.

You might draw your own conclusions on whether this practice has actually been happening, but I couldn't possibly comment .....

[This message has been edited by Hew Jampton (edited 09 May 2001).]
 
Old 8th May 2001, 23:43
  #37 (permalink)  
Propellerhead
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Spoonbill, I think everyone on this thread knows the slot tolerances, lets stop arguing about it! I also had had a very long day!

Bono-Vox - good point about the COBT, BUT, this is something we learnt in Air Law and then haven't come across since! As pilots, why are we not given this as standard? We are only ever given slot times by dispatchers and ATC.

 
Old 9th May 2001, 00:35
  #38 (permalink)  
Electric Sky
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160to4DME

I have to agree .....

The US are apparently considering a slot system already because of increasingly congested skies. However, make no mistake, that Europe could be better managed than it is.

With regard to PMI, as previously stated the -5/+10 is for ATC controllers ONLY and is not to be used by airlines. I sympathise with anyone that misses their slot because of start up delays. Heathrow suffers heavily from start up delays during adverse weather but seems to handle the slot situation very well.

No one likes ATC slots but they are there for everyones safety.
 
Old 9th May 2001, 01:51
  #39 (permalink)  
WideBodiedEng
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Bono Vox,
Of course you are right. I was merely informing the xenophobes that ATC everywhere is starting to apply the slots "conservatively" Yes 4 x 2 = 8 mins but the Shamrock jockey couldn't work that one out. As I Said I have heard (and seen) DHL A300 Eurotrans 26?? call for start/push when igloos were still going aboard. This then caused other, closed up flights to be late pushing 'cos the clots in Aer Rianta put all the 07:xx departures from the South Apron on the INSIDE (If you've been there, you'll know what I mean)This caused ATC who "Can't see all the Sth Ramp"!!! to hold them all. This, on most mornings would be CityJet, Scandanavian, BM, CityFlyer and CSA.
Slots ARE a PITA but as our ATC friends have said they help get the flow smoother. We don't always see the Big Picture!
 
Old 9th May 2001, 02:09
  #40 (permalink)  
smith
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I like Hew Jampton's idea best.
 

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